‘Baby brain’ could be real

A research team from Australia has shown that pregnancy can affect the way you think, your memory and how you plan.

A photograph of a woman in her third trimester of pregnancy holding her bump and closing her eyes

Pregnancy news, 16/01/2018 [updated 07/12/2018]

Earlier this year, a team at Deakin University in Melbourne looked into how a woman’s brain works before and after pregnancy. Specifically, they wanted to know if there were differences in memory, concentration and the ability to plan.

After looking at data from 709 pregnant women and 521 women who were not pregnant, they now believe that ‘baby brain’ could be a real problem affecting around four out of five pregnant women. Symptoms can include:

  • finding it difficult to concentrate
  • difficulty reading
  • forgetfulness
  • poor focus.

They also found that the effects of baby brain are worse in the third trimester, but that memory loss does start to affect women during the first and second trimesters.

‘Oh, it’s definitely a thing. I found my keys in the fridge… more than once!’ Anna

However, the research team did say that the brain still functions within ‘normal limits’, and that more research is needed to get a better understanding. Professor Byrne, who led the study, explained that no one should be worried about the findings and that ‘baby brain’ should not affect how someone does their job or how they function day-to-day.

New research

Associate professor of psychology, David Haley, from the University of Toronto has led a new study into the bond between mum and baby. Their findings support that a pregnant woman’s brain changes to get them ready for their new role and support bonding and attachment.

“Our findings support the idea that, in the brain, responses to infants' cues change over the course of pregnancy and early motherhood, with some mothers showing more marked changes than others. This variation in turn is associated with mothers' reports of their emotional bonds with their babies.” David Haley, Associate professor of psychology at the University of Toronto

Find out more about what’s happening to your brain and body during pregnancy.

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